WE DANCED ALL NIGHT

A DAZZLING MEMOIR OF THE GLITTERING TWENTIES

The madcap '20s, as told by queen of romance Cartland (see also I Reach for the Stars, above, etc., etc., etc.). First published in England in 1970, this vivid memoir is quantifiably better than the caricature Cartland (both in her image and her work) of the past decade: a juicy social history of privileged youth after WW I. Cartland was 18 in 1920, and she was a flapperone of those ``enchanting, sexless, bosomless, hipless, thighless creatures'' with shingled hair and backless dresses. ``Flaming youth,'' says Cartland, was her generations's reaction to the misery of WW I. ``We couldn't bear all those anniversaries: `the anniversary of the day that Daddy was missing,' `the anniversary of the day that he was reported killed.' '' So the ``Bright Young People'' Vaselined their eyelids, raced motorcars down Pall Mall, and danced every night until dawn. Cartland paints a picture of elaborate artifice, wealth and the pretense of it, and glamour on the grandest scale: Gaby Deslys, whose knee-length ropes of pearls caused a peasant riot in Portugal; Paula Gellibrand, ``who sprang into fame by appearing at the Ritz in a hat covered with wisteria.'' And the most stylish of all: the Prince of Wales, who entered nightclubs behind a footman in a powdered wig. Cartland herself wasn't rich; she was a ``socialite'' who had to workbut, boy, did she have contacts. She became a sort of mascot to the ``Four Adventurers'': her boss Lord Beaverbrook, Winston Churchill, Sir James Dunn, and Lord Birkenhead. In a dutiful nod to the General Strike of 1926, Cartland acknowledges how clueless the ``smart set'' was about poverty and identifies the great problem of her age as the ``uninvited guest.'' A jaw-dropping account of a tribe who whitened their faces with powder, dressed in feathers, and broke each other's hearts at thÇ-dansants. (b&w photos)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 1995

ISBN: 0-86051-925-2

Page Count: 312

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1995

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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BECOMING

The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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